Success, Hitting the High Notes and the Art of Being Unreasonable

You don’t get harmony when everyone sings the same notes“, Doug Floyd once said.

Indeed, just try to imagine 40 people belting out the same high note – it would completely miss the point of an artistic representation.

Instead, these people should be hitting the high notes only when it makes sense. When the piece requires certain accents.

Which got me thinking success is just like a musical sheet – without variation, you can’t deliver a successful outcome. The more variation (dissonance included) you explore, the more and innovative your piece will be.

But for that to happen, there’s one quality you have to cultivate: the ability to stray away from what’s established, from what lays ahead on the beaten track. In other words, the art of being a dissenter and skipping the straightforward in favor of the meandering.

Out with the ‘Reasonable’, in with the ‘Possible’

The issue about following a ‘reasonable’ path (school-university-job-job promotions et. al) is that it predetermines you to think from a limited vantage point; to see that path as a straight – hopefully smooth – trajectory.

When, really, life is anything but linear.

And then it appears that the path can be a zigzag trail, full of bumps and potholes all over.

You know what Walt Disney had to do in order to get his cartoons launched?

He had to stick to his creative path when he kept being rejected because his drawings were seen as ‘too scary for women’. He had to submit his work a dozen times, all over again, knowing these alleged failures were due to lack of proper reaction to his visionary drawings. If Walt had not acknowledged the fluctuating nature of career advancement, we wouldn’t cherish his legacy the way it deserves.

hitting the high notes The thing is, you may be the only one seeing a path where others see a wild forest. This is radical. And visionary. This means they lack the perspective you have and so you’ll have to trust your gut, step in, take another step and thus forge your way through the unknown.

In More Practical Words…

How can you be unreasonable on your way to achieving success?

  • Approach job interviews differently. Build a visual resume instead of a plain one. Present yourself with utmost honesty instead of sugarcoating the reasons why you want to work for a company.
  • Think of your career path not as an arrow aimed upwards, but as constant work towards achieving peak performance, i.e. those moments of intense inspiration and productivity. This work may also require that you choose occupations or pursuits which don’t make sense to others.
  • Thank people when they criticize you. Quite unreasonable, right? However, this is one thing helping you release tension and make place for a constructive reality check.

I do need to make an amendment here: being unreasonable means doing what’s not expected when and if it makes sense and not all the time, at any costs. They say everything’s good in moderation and with good reason – you won’t want to bark at the wrong tree all your life. You need to save your vocal chords for those high notes you’re aiming at.

Hitting the High Notes Takes the Gut to Be Unreasonable

Why am I saying being unreasonable is an art? Because you need to polish your skills constantly. The talent of being unreasonable or – better said – the creative capacity of seeing beyond what’s acknowledged by the norm is within all of us.

We’ve got creativity in spades when we’re brought into this world. And yet, we fail to reach out peak performance potential because of sticking to the same narrative we kept hearing from the reasonable people in our lives.

Are you really comfortable with being just a flat brick in a plain wall? Innovators and daredevils answered this question with putting in some work, passion and relentless faith in hitting the high notes. So I’d say you may follow in their steps.

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